By Cheryl Strayed
Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
By Guy Lawson
Octopus is a real-life thriller that tells the inside story of an audacious hedge fund fraud and the wild search, by a colorful cast of rogues and schemers, for a “secret market” beneath the financial market we all know.
Sam Israel was a man who seemed to have it all – until the hedge fund he ran, Bayou, imploded and he became the target of a nationwide manhunt. Born into one of America’s most illustrious trading families, Israel was determined to strike out on his own. So after apprenticing with one of the greatest hedge fund traders of the 1980’s, Sam founded his own fund and promised his investors guaranteed profits. With the proprietary computer program he’d created, he claimed to be able to predict the future.
But his future was already beginning to unravel.
After suffering devastating losses and fabricating fake returns, Israel knew it was only a matter of time before his real performance would be discovered, so when a former black-ops intelligence operative told him about a “secret market” run by the Fed, Israel bet his last $150 million on a chance to make billions. Thus began his year-long adventure in “the Upperworld” — a society populated by clandestine bankers, shady European nobility, and spooks issuing cryptic warnings about a mysterious cabal known as the Octopus.
Whether the “secret market” was real or a con, Israel was all in – and as the pressures mounted and increasingly sinister violence crept into his life, he struggled to break free of the Octopus’ tentacles.
By Tzeporah Berman and Mark Leiren-Young
Passionate, profound and funny, Berman is inspiring people from all walks of life to get off the sidelines and fight the good fight–and win. This unique book–part manifesto from a leader, part humorous activist memoir from a soccer mom–offers a wryly honest, behind-the-scenes, ultimately uplifting look at the state of the planet. For almost 20 years, Tzeporah Berman has been one of our most influential environmentalists. A founder of ForestEthics and PowerUp Canada, she was instrumental in shaping the tactics and concerns of the modern environmental movement.
In her early 20s she faced nearly one thousand criminal charges and 6 years in prison for her role organizing blockades in Canada’s rainforest. She later transformed her tactics and sat down with CEOs and political leaders to reshape their policies and practices. In her new role at Greenpeace International she is fighting the problem of our time: climate change. This Crazy Time is an impassioned plea for a better world.
By: Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya
In this powerful novel set in contemporary Kandahar, an Afghan woman approaches an American military base to demand the return of her brother’s body.
At a stark outpost in the Kandahar mountain range, a team of American soldiers watches a young Afghan woman approach. She has come to beg for the return of her brother’s body. The camp’s tense, claustrophobic atmosphere comes to a boil as the men argue about what to do next. Taking its cue from the Antigone myth, this significant, eloquent novel re-creates the chaos, intensity, and immediacy of war, and conveys the inevitable repercussions felt by the soldiers and their families–especially one sister.
By Jeff Rubin
In an urgent follow-up to his best-selling Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller, Jeff Rubin argues that the end of cheap oil means the end of growth. What it will be like to live in a world where growth is over?
Economist and resource analyst Jeff Rubin is certain that the world’s governments are getting it wrong. Instead of moving us toward economic recovery, measures being taken around the globe right now are digging us into a deeper hole. Both politicians and economists are missing the fact that the real engine of economic growth has always been cheap, abundant fuel and resources. But that era is over. The end of cheap oil, Rubin argues, signals the end of growth–and the end of easy answers to renewing prosperity.
Rubin’s own equation is clear: with China and India sucking up the lion’s share of the world’s ever more limited resources, the rest of us will have to make do with less. But is this all bad? Can less actually be more? Rubin points out that there is no research to show that people living in countries with hard-charging economies are happier, and plenty of research to show that some of the most contented people on the planet live in places with no-growth or slow-growth GDPs. But it doesn’t matter whether it’s bad or good, it’s the new reality: our world is not only about to get smaller, our day-to-day lives are about to be a whole lot different.
OUR RELAXING READS OF THE MONTH
By Linda Holeman
From one of Canada’s finest historical novelists, an intricately woven story of revenge, deception, love and redemption set against the turbulent social upheavals of 1860s Russia.
For Antonina, the wife of a wealthy Russian landowner, the world falls apart one cold spring afternoon when her husband takes her little boy, Misha, out riding. Set upon by kidnappers on horseback, the boy is stolen and the count wounded. Beautiful, musical and sheltered, Antonina is at first stunned and grief-stricken, then helpless as the count sickens and dies.
Desperate, and surrounded by serfs and servants unsettled by the collapse of the old order, Antonina turns to Grisha, the estate steward, for help in getting her son back. He is a man of relentless competence and ambition, and she is drawn to his strength, unaware that he is both driven and crippled by secrets he hoped he’d left behind him in the land of his birth, Siberia. In her search for her lost boy, Antonina faces betrayals that are literally murderous, and finds strengths she had no idea she possessed as she wanders the crumbling halls of Angelkov, pitting her wits against people turned erratic and cruel. In the end, her fate, and the fate of her son, hangs on the way love can sometimes transform even the deepest of hatreds.